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First time to Maui - which area would be better to stay? Lahaina - better for whale watching; S. Kihei - not so much? as this is a more sheltered area of the ocean. And for snorkeling - is one area better than the other?
I live here on Maui, in Lahaina. You will have a great time on the island no matter where you stay!
As for the whales, they are widely seen both in West Maui (Lahaina area) and South Maui (Kihei/Wailea/McKena) during the winter months. Just north of Ka’anapali, in the Honokowai area, are some great condo resorts that one can watch the whales play from the Lanai (the Mahana, Maui Kai, Ka’anapali Shores, Paki Maui, any condo resort with an odd number address (i.e. 3741) on Lower Honoapiilani Road are on the ocean side of the street). Big difference between South and West Maui regarding whale watching is that most of the resorts in South Maui are not on the ocean side of the main street, most of the resorts in West Maui are actually ocean front. Whale watching season officially begins December 15 and ends May 15, with the most whales seen in February through mid-April.
Great snorkeling can be found both in West Maui and in South Maui.
A good resource for activities, dining and cool events is http://www.TheMauiTravelGuide.com
Hope this helps.
Posted by eejay[/QUOTE]
Agree with Rmalar. I think you would enjoy staying in West Maui more than in S. Kihei. Lahaina is the biggest town here, but there are dozens of great beach resorts north of there that give you the option of renting a condo. Beaches lovely and a bonus are the nice views of Lanai.
Snorkeling is good in both areas. More whales in West Maui, between here and Lanai, but the whaling season is over until the humpbacks return from Alaska in the late fall. Might see a rare whale that doesn't migrate, but in the winter, the whale sightings here are truly amazing.
It's definitely good to have a car rental so that you can spend some time exploring. Haleakala is certainly worth a day trip (be sure you wear warm clothes), and the Road to Hana is another.